The Honor View 20 is a smartphone that stands out in several sections. On the one hand, it is one of the first smartphones with a full-screen design without notch (but with a hole in the screen for the front camera) and, on the other hand, it is the first to have a rear camera with the new Sony IMX586 sensor 48MP, which is accompanied by a 3D ToF sensor.
The Honor View 20 aspect also attracts attention as the back cover uses nanolithography technology that reflects the light forming a striking “V” pattern that we had not seen before.
The rest of its technical specifications do not disappoint at all since it has a 6.4 ”LCD screen with Full HD + resolution, Kirin 980 processor, 6/8 GB of RAM, 128/256 GB of storage (not expandable), rear camera 48MP + ToF, 25MP front camera and 4,000 mAh battery.
Out of Honor, I had the opportunity to attend the presentation of the smartphone in Paris and I have been able to try the Honor View 20 for several weeks, so, then I bring you my in-depth analysis.
Design and Construction
After a year dominated by smartphones with a more or less large notch in the center of the screen, the (almost) all-screen design of the Honor View 20 is a breath of fresh air.
Honor has dispensed with the traditional notch in favor of a hole in the upper left corner of the screen that houses the front camera.
This hole has a diameter of 4.5 mm. and it has been created through a complex process of lithography on screen.
Although the Honor View 20 is not the first smartphone we see with a perforated screen – the Samsung Galaxy A8s and the Huawei Nova 4 were announced with similar screens.
In addition, the front camera of the Honor View 20 is considerably smaller than that of the Galaxy A8s.
The location chosen for the front camera hole is not accidental since, when holding the smartphone horizontally, the hole will be relegated to the lower-left corner and, therefore, will not interfere with the top bar of the games.
This does not mean that in some games we cannot find controls or other elements placed in the place occupied by the camera but, in general, it is usually a space that is free.
In addition to having removed the notch, Honor has made the frames around the screen very narrow, with the bottom frame being somewhat thicker than the other three.
As a result, we are facing a smartphone with a great advantage of the front since it reaches a screen-to-body ratio of, according to Honor, almost 92%. In comparison, the Honor Play remained at a ratio of 83%, so the improvement is great.
The use of an elongated screen ratio, 19.5: 9, makes the Honor View 20 not too wide and therefore quite manageable in the hand. However, as with all phones of a similar size, it is not easy to reach all areas of the screen with the thumb when holding the phone with one hand. Luckily, Honor has incorporated one-hand operation functionality.
If you look at the back, we find a striking back cover that, in the company’s words, uses “advanced nanolithography technology to create an invisible nanotexture.”
Explained with simpler words, it is a glass finish with multiple layers below that reflect the light forming “V” patterns. Although we might think that the “V” refers to “View20”, Honor has explained that he has been inspired by the famous statue of the Victory of Samothrace when designing this pattern.
It is not easy to capture with a camera the effect that the light produces when it hits the rear surface of the Honor View 20 but it is enough to say that it attracts a lot of attention since a bright “V” seems to move around the back when the phone is turned. At a time when the designs of smartphones are becoming more similar, it is appreciated to see a touch of originality.
The sides of the back are curved to the sides, which gives it a touch of elegance, and they are also dyed a darker color than the rest of the phone.
The Honor View 20 is available in four colors: Midnight Black, Sapphire Blue, Phantom Red and Phantom Blue (this is what we have tried). The last two color variants are the result of a collaboration between Honor and the luxury brand MOSCHINO.
Given the narrowness of the lower frame of the screen, Honor has placed the fingerprint reader in the back, at a fairly comfortable height that makes the gesture of placing the finger on it natural.
I would have liked more to see a fingerprint reader under the screen but this would have forced Honor to use an OLED panel, which would have made the phone more expensive.
The rear camera is divided into two modules that are located in the upper left area.
The first of the modules protrude slightly, so the phone dances when you press on the upper left area of the screen while resting on a horizontal surface. It is not serious but it can be annoying if you use the phone on a table.
The back is completely flat, so it does not adapt as well to the hand as other terminals with a more curved shape. With 8.1 mm thickness and 180 grams in weight, the Honor View 20 is somewhat thicker and heavier than other smartphones.
Next, we will check the sides of the phone to see what buttons and connectors we found.
On the right side, we find the power button and, above, the volume button, one-piece and elongated. Both buttons have a good touch feeling and sufficient travel.
On the left side, we only find the slot to house two nano-SIM cards. Unfortunately, we cannot use a micro-SD card (nor one of the new NM Cards announced by Huawei)
The top of the phone only has a microphone and what appears to be an infrared transmitter (although we have not found any remote control app).
The bottom of the phone has a USB-C connector in the center and, on one side, the headphone jack.
The phone grip is comfortable since the side edges of the phone do not stick in the hand when held tightly.
Finally, Honor View 20 is not waterproof, so we must be careful not to get wet. I would have liked to see this protection on the phone since it is something that more and more high-end smartphones incorporate but, again, it is understandable that Honor has dispensed with this feature to maintain a more restrained price.
Honor View 20 Screen
The Honor View 20 has a screen with a diagonal of 6.4 ″ and a ratio almost 19.5: 9, as usual in smartphones with large screens and narrow frames.
The resolution of the panel is Full HD + (2310 x 1080 pixels), resulting in a very high pixel density of 398 dpi. This means that the Honor View 20 screen is very clear, with individual pixels are indistinguishable to the naked eye.
The Honor View 20 includes a mode called intelligent resolution that is enabled by default and automatically lowers the battery resolution to save battery power. We can also reduce the resolution manually to HD + (1540 x 720 pixels) but it is something I do not recommend since the sharpness suffers excessively.
The Honor View 20 screen is of the IPS LCD type (in-plane switching), while many high-end smartphones have OLED panels, which offer a greater color range, greater contrast, a higher level of maximum brightness and lower energy consumption.
The sub-pixel matrix of the Honor View 20 is RGB (red, green, blue), as is usual for LCD (liquid crystal display) panels. On RGB screens, sub-pixels are organized one after the other in rows red-green-blue (RGB).
The Honor View 20 offers two screen modes: Normal and Vivid. The normal mode is designed to offer more realistic colors, while the vivid mode offers more intense color and is the one that is activated by default.
In normal mode, the fidelity of the colors is correct since the average error (Delta E) is 4.6 dE (a value below 4 dE is considered excellent and above 9 dE is considered unacceptable). The maximum fidelity error is given with a value of 7.4 dE.
In this mode, the smartphone covers 92% of Android’s standard sRGB color space and is 68% of the largest color space, DCI-P3, commonly used in the film industry. The white color has a color temperature of 7,579ºK, which indicates that the screen has a certain bluish tint.
In the vivid mode, which is the one that is activated by default, the fidelity of the colors worsens since this mode excessively saturates the colors to make them more vivid. The average error (Delta E) is 6.2 dE and the maximum error reaches 11.3 dE.
In this mode, the smartphone covers 100% of the sRGB color space and 96% of the DCI-P3 color space, so it has a large color range.
The white color has a color temperature of 9,128 ° K, a value that is too high that indicates that the screen has a fairly marked bluish tint. Luckily, Honor incorporates a setting that allows us to correct the color temperature and make it warmer if we wish.
The maximum brightness of the Honor View 20 is around 460 nits with the maximum brightness in automatic mode. Unlike other smartphones, the Honor View 20 does not have a mode that temporarily enhances the brightness when we are in very intense light.
This brightness value is low even for a mid-range phone, as can be seen in the following comparative graph. This means that, in bright conditions, for example in the sun, we may have some difficulty reading the screen clearly.
The black color is not too deep (0.37 nits) and, consequently, the contrast offers a somewhat low value, around 1,240:1, as usual on LCD screens. The colors are not altered when viewing the screen from an angle, although the brightness level is significantly reduced when the phone is rotated.
One aspect worth mentioning for the most detailed is that the screen darkens in the area near the bottom frame of the screen, as well as around the hole in the front camera. This darkening is especially noticeable in those applications with white background and, although it is not a serious problem, it is something to consider.
Although Honor makes no reference to HDR (High-dynamic-range) support, I have verified with some YouTube videos that the screen is capable of playing HDR content without any problem.
Honor has incorporated a reading mode that is equivalent to the night mode we see in other smartphones. In this mode, the light is filtered to relieve visual fatigue. It can be activated manually or, if we prefer, edit the start and end time.
Finally, Honor has not incorporated the functionality of turning on the screen with a double touch, something that is quite comfortable when we have the phone resting on the table, nor does it have an Always Active Display or the Ambient Screen.
Honor View 20 Hardware
The Honor View 20 comes with a Kirin 980 processor, a chip that debuted only a few months ago with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and features interesting improvements in performance, efficiency, and capabilities.
The Kirin 980 is manufactured in a 7 nm process, which means that it consumes less energy and is more powerful than the previous generation of 10 nm processors, such as the Kirin 970.
The Kirin 980 has eight cores: two powerful Cortex-A76 high-performance 2.6 GHz cores, two high-efficiency Cortex-A76 cores at 1.9 GHz and four Cortex-A55 cores with extreme efficiency at 1.8 GHz.
A highlight of the Kirin 980 is the presence of a Dual NPU (Neuronal Process Unit), which offers 134% more performance and 88% more efficiency than the Kirin 970 processor when performing Artificial Intelligence tasks.
The processor is accompanied by a new Mali G76 GPU. This GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), which debuts with the Kirin 980, offers 46% more graphics processing power with 178% improved energy efficiency compared to the previous generation.
Mali GPUs have never managed to live up to the Adreno GPUs found in Qualcomm chips, so I’m curious to see how it behaves on this phone.
The Honor View 20 comes with GPU Turbo 2.0 that significantly improves the graphics performance of its smartphones in certain video games such as Fortnite, PUBG, AOV, ROS, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Vainglory and Asphalt 9: Legend. The Honor View 20 is one of only three Android smartphones that are capable of moving Fortnite to 60 FPS.
The secret of GPU Turbo is the creation of a specific neural network model for each game and device. To do this, the behavior of the game is analyzed for thousands of hours and a model is created that allows anticipating energy/performance requirements. In this way, it is possible to optimize all the elements (CPU, GPU, and Memory) to achieve a high and, above all, stable FPS rate.
A powerful processor is useless if it is not possible to maintain sustained performance over time. Therefore, HONOR has incorporated a liquid cooling system called NINE that is responsible for dissipating heat very efficiently.
Next, to the processor, we find 6 or 8 GB of RAM, depending on the variant, which is more than enough to have several applications open at the same time and enjoy a good multi-task experience.
On a day-to-day basis, the Honor View 20 interface moves smoothly and I have not suffered any slow problems or experienced lag when using popular apps like WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Google Maps, etc.
Nor have I had problems with the multi-task, since the Honor View 20 with 8GB of RAM that I have tried is able to run several applications at once without noticing that they close in the background. The model with 6GB of RAM should also have no problem keeping a good number of apps in memory.
As for graphics capacity, as we have already said, the Honor View 20 brings GPU Turbo 2.0. GPU Turbo debuted at the Honor Play and promises a graphical performance improvement of up to 60% and battery savings of up to 30% for compatible titles (for now, half a dozen).
When analyzing the graphic power, we start with the 3DMark SlingShot test, where the phone has obtained good results but below a good number of high-end smartphones.
To check the real graphic performance in 3D games, I’ve tried three demanding 3D titles – Asphalt 9, Dead Effect 2 and PUBG – and, in all of them, the gaming experience with the Honor View20 has been very good.
Like all smartphones, the surface of the Honor View 20 is heated when subjected to a high workload, especially in 3D games and, of course, benchmarks.
However, in the case of Honor View 20, I have measured a temperature of only 35ºC in certain areas of the back surface after playing some games, so the phone is not at all annoying in the hand.
This good thermal performance is probably due to the NINE liquid cooling system, capable of cooling the processor area by means of a heat pipe that runs from the camera module to the chip near the area of the fingerprint reader and conducts heat to the left frame.
Since with Honor Play, I got some warnings of overheating when running benchmarks, I’m glad to see that these problems are not present in the Honor View 20.
Honor incorporates an application called Manager that analyzes the state of the phone and offers various ways to optimize the operation of the phone.
Among others, this application can propose to close certain applications to reduce energy consumption, delete large files or applications rarely used to free up space or disable Bluetooth if there is no device to link.
This same application also allows you to block calls and messages from certain users, restrict the use of mobile data / WiFi by apps, reduce data consumption by limiting background connections, control applications that can display floating notifications or in the Notification center, search for viruses, and manage battery consumption.
The Honor View 20 comes with 128 or 256 GB of internal storage, which we cannot expand using a micro-SD card (nor with one of Huawei’s new NM Cards), although you probably do not miss any more storage with either of them.
In the connectivity aspect, the Honor View 20 is compatible with WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, 4G / LTE and NFC. Apparently, it also has an infrared port but, nevertheless, I have not found any pre-installed remote control app.
As we have mentioned in the Design section, the Honor View 20 offers Dual SIM functionality and allows two nano-SIM cards to be inserted.
Honor states that it has included triple WiFi antenna technology that maintains a strong signal, although it is only compatible with the 2.4 GHz band that, personally, I no longer use because it offers a much lower speed than 5 GHz.
In the tests I have done, the network speed for both Wi-Fi and 4G were satisfactory.
In the WiFi test, the Honor View 20 has reached 130 Mbps down and 68 Mbps with a router with 802.11ac WiFi and a fiber-optic Internet connection.
Another interesting aspect in terms of connectivity is that Honor has incorporated dual-frequency GPS that offers more precise positioning. However, in practice, I have not been able to notice any improvement.
In the absences section, we cannot forget that Honor has not included FM radio, something that many users will miss.
The Honor View 20 arrives with a fingerprint reader in the back, so it is not convenient to unlock the phone when it is resting on a table. Leaving this detail aside, fingerprint recognition is reliable and quite fast.
The use of the fingerprint not only allows the device to be unlocked but also makes it easy to protect applications and multimedia content from unwanted looks, as well as access to a private space.
Honor has also incorporated a facial detection system called Face Unlock that allows you to unlock the phone with your face just by lifting the phone and placing it in front of your face, without even having to press the power button. It is possible to have fingerprint and face detection activated at the same time, so you can use one or the other interchangeably.
Face Unlock is reliable and fast but it is not as safe as the footprint. In my tests, I have managed to get another person to unlock the phone in less than five attempts, the maximum allowed by Honor before blocking and asking for the security code, with a simple mask with my face made from a photograph.
If you use Face Unlock, you can activate a smart lock screen that makes notifications only show when the phone sees you.
Honor View 20 Charge
The battery of the Honor View 20 has a capacity of 4,000 mAh, an amount more than enough to power a smartphone with this screen size.
In the test of autonomy of PCMark 2.0, with the screen calibrated to 200 nits, the phone has given a result of 11 hours and 12 minutes. This result is excellent since it surpasses most high-end smartphones.
On a day-to-day basis, the autonomy of the Honor View 20 is excellent and you will have no trouble getting to the end of the day with a sufficient amount of battery remaining (around 30%) even if you make quite a heavy use of the phone.
If you need to further squeeze the battery, Honor has incorporated an Ultra Energy Saving mode that only allows access to Calls, Messages, Contacts and three applications of our choice, as well as an Energy Saving mode that limits the activity of apps in the background, it disables system sounds and automatic mail synchronization and reduces visual effects.
Another option that we find is the possibility of lowering the resolution of the screen to 720p to reduce energy consumption, either manually or automatically, although it is not an option that we recommend since the savings are minimal and the sharpness is significantly reduced.
Functionality to save battery that I liked is that it allows selecting for each application if it can start automatically, be started by other applications or run in the background. The phone also indicates which applications consume a lot of energy so that we know where we will get the greatest benefits.
Finally, Honor View 20 can perform a phone status analysis to optimize energy saving by suggesting various actions. For example, the application indicates which applications consume energy with the screen off and what settings we can modify to reduce energy consumption: lower screen brightness, disable vibration, disable synchronization, etc.
The Honor View 20 features the Honor SuperCharge 5V / 4.5A fast charging system that should charge your phone quickly.
In my tests, the entire charging process has taken a total of 1 hour and 20 minutes. The load is faster up to 80 percent and then slows down to 100%. 50% is reached in about 25 minutes.
Unfortunately, the Honor View 20 does not have wireless charging, a feature that is increasingly present in high-end smartphones but that Honor does not incorporate into its devices.
Honor View 20 Software
The Honor View 20 runs Android 9 Pie and, above the operating system, Honor incorporates its own customization layer Magic UI 2.0.1.
Magic UI is the name that honors its adaptation of the Huawei EMUI layer. It is a software layer that greatly modifies the design of Android and adds many additional features.
Personally, the aesthetics of Magic UI (like that of EMUI) does not quite convince me since the icons look somewhat outdated and the configuration copies are somewhat convoluted.
A curious aspect of EMUI is that the lock screen can alternate between different wallpapers that are automatically downloaded by the phone.
While on the lock screen, in the lower right corner we have access to the camera. If we slide our finger from the bottom up, there are shortcuts to the recorder, calculator, flashlight, stopwatch, and notes. I wish these quick actions were also available with the unlocked phone
On top of these shortcuts, we have some controls to interact with the wallpaper of the lock screen. By clicking on the icon on the right, we can access the Covers section where we can subscribe to thematic wallpapers of Honor, Leica Photography, Travel, Transportation, Famous People, Style, General, and Sports.
Honor View 20 comes with a theme manager that allows you to change the look of the phone and modify the appearance of the interface. It is even possible to customize each particular theme by altering the style of the lock screen, the lock screen background, the background of the main screen and the style of the icons, but not the font used for the typeface.
These themes also affect the color schemes of the applications included as standard on the phone. The phone arrives with 11 pre-installed themes and it is possible to download many more.
By dragging the screen from the center down while on the desktop, the Magic UI search opens that allows you to locate content in applications, contacts, messages, etc. and even suggests some apps. This is a very useful functionality that is increasingly present in more smartphones.
By default, the Honor View 20 shows all apps installed on the desktop but allows you to retrieve the application drawer so that the icons are all gathered in one place.
It also allows you to set the main screen with a simple style, where only a few large buttons are shown. It is an option indicated for children or the elderly.
While on the home screen, we can scroll to the left to access Google Feed, which shows the latest news on topics of your interest.
The device does not have physical buttons but shows a lower navigation bar with the usual virtual buttons – Back, Home and Tasks – which are customizable since the phone allows you to choose between four combinations. It is also possible to activate the use of the interface through gestures, which are quite intuitive.
The notification area has five shortcuts at the top, which expand to many more if we drag the screen down. Below these accesses, we find the screen brightness control (which does not include a button to activate the automatic adjustment) and then the latest notifications.
Magic UI offers some curious features such as automatically aligning icons when removing an application or shaking the phone to align the icons on the main screen. We can set different transition effects between the desktop screens, as well as choose the size of the grid: 4 × 6, 5 × 5 or 5 × 6.
Magic UI allows you to choose if we want the icons to show a symbol (a color point) that indicates whether there is a pending notification or an unread message or even choose it individually for each app.
One of the aspects that I like most about Magic UI is the possibility it offers to individually manage the permissions of each application for different purposes since it allows:
- Adjusting the permissions of each application to show notifications and their location.
- The choice for each application if we want the symbol to be displayed in the upper right corner of the icon when there are notifications or messages
- Adjusting the permissions of each application to continue running once the screen is turned off.
- Adjusting the permissions of each application to use the WiFi or mobile data connection in the foreground, in the background, and in roaming, and know the data consumption for each type of connection
In this way, we can have absolute control over the applications, and adjust their use to our needs. For example, we can decide that Twitter cannot run in the background to save battery power, or that a game cannot make use of the mobile data connection under any circumstances.
The Honor View 20 offers a voice control function. If you can’t find the phone and know it’s close, or if your hands are busy and you need to make a call, you can use voice control to find the phone and make calls.
The default voice command will be “Dear Honor” but we can also record our own activation phrase, although Huawei warns that recognition may not work as well.
Honor incorporates control by gestures that allow you to turn around to silence, raise to decrease the volume of the bell / alarms or activate the device, bring the ear to answer / make calls in speakerphone or speakerphone mode, capture the screen with two strokes on the screen with the knuckle, open applications by drawing letters with the knuckle fingers or split the screen with the knuckle.
Honor offers an interesting functionality called Twin Application that allows you to log in with two different accounts in the same app at the same time. This is useful for apps like WhatsApp or Facebook that do not allow you to set up multiple accounts.
Another useful feature is Private Space, which creates a new desktop where you can keep apps, photographs, videos, music, and any other content away from other people’s eyes.
Honor allows you to associate a PIN and a different fingerprint to this space so that if we use them on the lock screen, we access this desktop directly. The only problem is that, if you have facial recognition activated and your face is recognized, you automatically access the main desktop.
If we only want to restrict access to one or more apps, we can make use of the Application Lock, which allows access to an application to be protected by a fingerprint or facial recognition. It is also possible to create a Safe to protect access to certain content such as images, videos or files.
Magic UI also incorporates a Password Manager functionality that allows you to store usernames and passwords locally on the smartphone and access them using the password on the lock screen.
Honor incorporates a functionality called Huawei Share that allows you to share files between two Huawei devices without using mobile data, as well as with Windows or macOS computers connected to the same WiFi network. It is also possible to print wirelessly.
Honor has incorporated an application called Health that, as its name implies, allows us to control our physical activity. The application allows you to set goals for daily steps and weight, record when we are going to exercise, and keep track of the number of steps walked, the distance traveled and the number of floors climbed.
The application can connect to external data sources such as Google Fit to better track our physical activity.
Another one of the applications that it incorporates is AppGallery, a store that recommends games and applications but that does not contribute anything in front of Play Store except to download the own apps of Huawei. Something similar happens with the Honor app, which simply opens the Honor website in your country.
Honor has preloaded a few third-party apps like Booking, Netflix and Amazon. Luckily all apps can be uninstalled if you are not going to use them.
The Honor View 20 incorporates a single speaker at the bottom of the phone, next to the USB Type-C connector, so it is quite easy to cover it with your hand when using the phone horizontally.
The sound reproduction of the Honor View 20 is good when it comes to playing music, watching videos or playing since the speaker emits with enough power.
It doesn’t sound as good as other devices that have stereo speakers but it is enough for most users.
If you usually listen to music with headphones, you’ll be glad to know that Honor includes a 3D audio technology.
This technology allows you to enjoy various playback modes through your headphones: automatic, 3D audio, natural and standard.
The Honor View 20 also incorporates a ten-band sound equalizer with several predefined modes.
In practice, the sound is heard very well with headphones, although my poorly trained ear does not appreciate a substantial improvement over other high-end smartphones.
As a curiosity, the Honor View 20 incorporates a feature called Fiesta that allows you to synchronize music playback across multiple phones to create an immersive surround sound effect.
To make it work, it is necessary that all phones are connected to the same WiFi network, and friends can join by scanning a QR code that appears on the screen or by bringing the phones closer to pair them by NFC.
The Honor View 20 incorporates its own music playback software with a simple and minimalist interface that allows you to view songs by title, album, artist, and folder.
The background color of the music player adjusts to the cover of the disc that is currently playing, which adds a pretty attractive colorful touch.
The cover itself is displayed within a circle, and in case the music file incorporates the lyrics of the song, it also appears on the player. The app allows you to create playlists and mark songs as favorites.
The music player is not able to download covers automatically from the Internet and, although it is possible to play the music on an external sound device, it is not possible to play the music that is stored on other network devices.
The Gallery application is used to view and play the photos and videos stored on the phone. The new app now incorporates the capabilities to create Memories (dynamic albums based on the date, time and location of the photos) and Discover (sort photos automatically based on content).
The application also allows you to edit the images using various basic tools to crop, adjust the color, modify the contrast, etc. Nothing new that we have not seen before.
Honor has included a specific app for video playback, and the phone is able to play smoothly compatible files smoothly thanks to its processor.
We have played some 1080p and 4K videos encoded with H.264 and with the most modern HEVC codec, and all of them have played well. Of course, we have also been able to enjoy movies from streaming services like Netflix, HBO or Amazon TV without problems.
The Honor View 20 is Widevine L1 certified, so it is possible to watch HD content from streaming services such as Netflix – many smartphones stay on Widevine L3 and only play the content in SD.
The Honor View 20 arrives with a dual rear camera. The main camera features the new Sony IMX586 1/2 ″ CMOS sensor with 48MP resolution and a lens with f/1.8 aperture. This sensor uses a quad-Bayer color filter for pixel grouping, so the captured image is reduced to a higher quality 12MP image.
The secondary camera has a ToF (Time of Flight) sensor capable of measuring 3D depth. ToF technology measures the time it takes for a pulse of light emitted to be reflected back to the sensor and, thus, is able to create a 3D map.
The ToF sensor not only allows you to take pictures in Portrait mode with the background out of focus but also allows you to scan 3D objects on your smartphone, and even offers a beauty mode that detects your body and makes it more stylized.
On the lock screen, there is direct access to the camera but we can take a capture even faster in just over a second if we press the volume down button twice quickly. The phone barely has time to focus when taking one of these ultra-instant photos, so the capture is not always perfect.
If we open the camera in the usual way, by clicking on the icon of the app, the boot is almost instantaneous. In my tests, the phone approach has proved to be quite fast and, in general, very successful.
Like so many other smartphones, Honor has incorporated a Portrait mode that blurs the background of the image to recreate the bokeh effect. Unfortunately, it is not possible to select the degree of blur afterward, so we play it to make the picture go well.
Honor has added some beauty and lighting effects to the Portrait mode, but these cannot be applied afterward but you must select them when taking the picture. In any case, it doesn’t seem like it’s something you want to use.
Honor has also incorporated an Opening mode that, like the Portrait mode, allows you to blur the background, but offers the possibility of editing the degree of blur afterward in case the result is not desired. It is possible to take pictures of both people and objects.
In addition to the Portrait and Aperture modes, one of the ToF camera’s utilities is body modeling, which supposedly detects your body and makes it look more stylized in the photographs thanks to an advanced identification of the shapes.
The Honor View 20 boasts of using algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for real-time recognition of scenes in order to optimize the capture parameters.
Depending on the scene detected, the Honor View 20 applies different camera settings to enhance the image. For example, if it detects that you are taking a picture of a plant, switch to Vegetation mode that enhances the green tones. If you take pictures of food, boost the colors of foods to make them seem more appetizing. The use of AI also activates the HDR mode when it detects that it is necessary.
If you don’t want to use the proposed shooting mode, you can easily disable AI mode. However, it is not possible to deactivate the effect afterward in the Image Gallery – which is strange because in Honor Play it was possible.
As in the entire interface, Honor has opted for a minimalist design of the camera application. On the left, we have controls to access the Settings, activate the AI mode, activate the photos with movement, adjust the flash and activate the HiVision mode.
The HiVision mode allows you to read QR codes and barcodes, translate text in real-time, search for and identify products to buy food, buildings, famous paintings, etc.
According to the company, it is able to identify up to 100 types of food and provide caloric information on it. The camera is also able to identify up to 300 landmarks and 100,000 works of art from around the world.
To the right of the interface, we find the buttons to capture the photo and switch between the front and rear camera. Next, we can find quick buttons to access the Night, Portrait, Photo, Video, and More modes.
The More button shows all capture modes: professional, slow motion, panoramic, aperture, light painting, HDR, fast camera, filter, 3D panoramic, label, documents, artistic mode, and download. There are so many shooting modes that are somewhat unusual.
If we choose the Professional photography mode, the camera options appear on the right of the screen: ISO sensitivity level (Auto, 50-3200), the exposure measurement zone, the shooting speed, the exposure compensation, focus mode, and white balance.
In good light conditions, the Honor View 20 camera takes good shots with vivid color, high contrast, and sharpness.
When the light is scarce, the color and contrast of the image are maintained quite well but the noise is present and, as a result of the noise reduction algorithm, some image details are lost.
Honor has incorporated a Night mode that takes several seconds to take a picture as it combines captures with different exposures, so it is not a mode you want to use on all occasions.
When using the Night mode, we get a much brighter and less noisy image in the dark areas, but usually also less sharp. In my experience, the best result occurs in situations of almost total darkness since, in other situations, it is better to use the normal mode.
As for the video recording of the rear camera, the Honor View 20 can record video at 4K at 30 FPS and 1080p at 30/60 FPS. In all video recording modes, electronic stabilization is present.
It is possible to select if we want to save the videos in the traditional H.264 format or in the more modern H.265 format, which reduces the size of the videos without decreasing quality but you may have compatibility problems when sharing it.
The videos present a stable image with good quality.
The front camera is 25MP with f/2.0 aperture but lacks autofocus, so, depending on the distance, the image may be somewhat out of focus.
The quality offers good sharpness and color.
Like many other phones, it offers beauty modes to improve our appearance in selfies and is also able to simulate a Portrait mode to blur the background of the selfie.
The front camera offers a mode called AR Lens with three functionalities: 3D Qmoji to animate emojis with our facial gestures, Effects to apply filters to our image and Backgrounds to modify the background of the image and create quite psychedelic videos like these.
In the tests, the voice quality is correct and I have been able to perfectly hold conversations in moderately noisy environments without difficulties.
The Calls and Contacts application are the same, with separate tabs for the dialer, contact list and favorites.
Honor View 20 Price
The Honor View 20 is sold for $479.99 (6GB / 128GB) in Sapphire Blue and Midnight Black colors, and $529.00 (8GB / 256GB) in Phantom Blue and Phantom Red colors. This is a fairly tight price for a smartphone with Very complete technical specifications.
If you are looking for a smartphone between 500 and 600 dollars are the OnePlus 6T, then we will review three possible interesting competitors.
The OnePlus 6T ( $549.00 ) arrives with a 6.4 ″ Full HD AMOLED display, Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, fingerprint reader, dual 16MP + 20MP camera, 16MP front camera and battery 3,700 mAh with fast charge.
The Huawei P20 Pro ( $610.97 ) already has time but it is a very interesting competitor since it has a triple rear camera that produces very good shots. In addition, it has a 6.1″ screen with hardly any frames (but with “notch”), Kirin 970 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and a generous 4,000 mAh battery.
The Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro ( $390.00 ) arrives with a 6.21″ Full HD + AMOLED display, Snapdragon 845 processor, 8 GB of LPDDR4x RAM, 128 GB of storage, 12MP dual rear camera, 20MP front camera, and 3,000 mAh battery.
At a time when most smartphones seem to have been manufactured from the same mold, the design of the Honor View 20 comes as a breath of fresh air.
Although the Samsung Galaxy A8s and the Huawei Nova 4 were presented before, the Honor View 20 is the first that is marketed with a circular hole drilled in the screen itself for the front camera, instead of the traditional notch.
The frames surrounding the Honor View 20 screen are very narrow, although the lower frame that is somewhat thicker. As a result, we have a smartphone with a spectacular screen-to-body relationship – with permission from smartphones with sliding screens.
The second design aspect that is surprising in the Honor View 20 is its curved glass back cover on the sides, which has lithographed layers under the glass that produce incredible reflections.
When you turn the phone, the back surface reflects the light forming “V” patterns that seem to move towards the bottom. Since it is a rather striking design (and somewhat dirty since the footprints are easily marked), it may not be to everyone’s liking.
The Honor View 20 is available in Sapphire Blue, Phantom Blue, Midnight Black, and Phantom Red colors. The one you see in the images corresponds to the Phantom Blue.
The presence of narrow frames has forced Honor to place the fingerprint reader in the back, but if you are not comfortable with its location you can opt for facial unlocking (notice: it is easily foolable with a mask). I would have liked Honor to integrate a reader under the screen, but I would have had to use an OLED panel and this would have made the phone more expensive.
The 6.4″ screen is of the IPS LCD type and has a Full HD + resolution, sufficient to provide good sharpness. The color fidelity is simply correct in the normal mode, although many users will opt for the vivid mode that offers more intense (although less realistic) colors.
The maximum brightness of the screen is rather low compared to other smartphones and, being an LCD screen, the contrast is not as good as in other high-end smartphones. The colors are not altered when the screen is rotated but the brightness is reduced slightly.
At the bottom of the screen and the area surrounding the front camera, there is a slight darkening of the screen. With colored backgrounds, this effect goes unnoticed but with the white background, it is visible.
I miss the Always Active Screen functionalities to permanently display notifications, the Ambient Screen to turn on the screen upon receiving a notification or the double-tap gesture on the screen to turn it on.
The Honor View 20 features the powerful Kirin 980 processor that debuted a few months ago on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. This processor is built in a 7 nm process and stands out for it’s Dual NPU to accelerate AI operations.
The results of the performance benchmarks have been good, although the Kirin 980 is usually below the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (and therefore also the newly released Snapdragon 855) in both CPU and GPU performance.
In practice, the Honor View 20 responds quickly and I have not suffered any break when it comes to moving the interface or using demanding apps.
Its 6 or 8 GB of RAM, depending on the variant, help keep a large number of apps in memory and enjoy a good multi-task experience.
When playing, the Honor View 20 benefits from GPU Turbo 2.0, a software functionality introduced by Huawei that improves graphic performance in about a dozen titles such as PUBG and Fortnite.
High and stable rates of 30/60 FPS in games has been obtained like Asphalt 9, Dead Effect 2 or PUBG.
In fact, Fortnite is able to offer 60 FPS only on 3 Android smartphones, one of them being the Honor View 20.
These results have undoubtedly helped the NINE liquid cooling system that keeps the temperature of the area near the processor controlled. In a test of sustained performance for 15 minutes at maximum load, the Honor View 20 has maintained the type excellently – other smartphones greatly reduce their performance as they heat up.
As for the sound, the Honor View 20 has a single speaker located at the bottom. This position has the disadvantage that it is easy to cover it by holding it horizontally to play but, leaving this detail aside, it sounds quite powerful.
If you opt for headphones (it has a 3.5mm jack), the sound offers good quality and incorporates 3D effects.
The Honor View 20 arrives with 128 or 256 GB of internal storage, depending on the variant, which we cannot expand with a micro-SD card (or NM Card) since, although it supports Dual SIM, it does not offer any hybrid slot.
In the connectivity aspect, the Honor View 20 is well served with WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, 4G / LTE, NFC and infrared (although there is no pre remote control app -installed)
Honor states that it has included triple WiFi antenna technology that maintains a strong signal but only in the 2.4 GHz band, so it does not have great utility.
In the absences section, Honor has not included FM radio, something that many users will miss.
The Honor View 20 has a generous 4,000 mAh battery, which offers excellent autonomy compared to other smartphones. Even with quite intense use, I have reached the end of the day with 30 percent of remaining capacity.
Honor View 20 has a SuperCharge fast charge and the phone charges in just 1 hour and 20 minutes. While other smartphones reach 50% in the first 30 minutes, Honor View 20 achieves it in just 25 minutes.
The Honor View 20 has a dual rear camera, which features an innovative Sony IMX586 1/2 ″ 48MP sensor and f / 1.8 aperture along with a ToF (Time of Flight) sensor capable of measuring 3D distances.
The combination of the two lenses allows you to take pictures in Portrait and Aperture mode with a quite successful background blur (although not especially better than what we have seen in other smartphones without a ToF sensor) and lighting effects.
The ToF sensor also allows the body of the photographed person to be stylized but, in my experience, the result is not too good since the entire photograph is distorted.
Honor has provided the camera with artificial intelligence capabilities to recognize scenes and those photographs taken with AI have a more intense color. Unfortunately, I have not found a way to deactivate the effect of AI afterward, so you should use it carefully.
In good light conditions, the image quality is good and the captures offer good sharpness, vivid color, and wide dynamic range. When the light is low, the photographs maintain a fairly reasonable noise level although some details are lost.
When recording video, we can capture 4K video at 30 FPS but not at 60 FPS. The videos have pretty good image quality, with a very stable image recording at any resolution, even 4K.
The 25MP front camera offers good quality selfies and also allows you to take pictures in Portrait mode by blurring the background of the image by software.
Honor has incorporated the Magic UI 2.1 customization layer, which is the name that honors its adaptation of the Huawei EMUI layer. Personally, the EMUI / Magic UI design is not one of its best qualities and I am looking forward to a facelift.
The aesthetic section aside, the reality is that Magic UI adds a large number of interesting features that complement Android.
Some of the most interesting are gesture control, energy-saving modes, granular control of battery consumption and mobile connections per application, an interface for one-handed operation, cloning of apps to configure multiple accounts, protection of apps and multimedia content by fingerprint, synchronized music playback between various devices, etc.
In conclusion, the Honor View 20 is a very interesting smartphone if you are looking for a powerful smartphone, with an avant-garde design and excellent autonomy, but you do not want to spend more than 800 euros or more than the large manufacturers’ badges usually cost.
- Design with great use of the front and a back cover with a very original look.
- Screen with high sharpness and wide color range (in vivid mode).
- Fluency in phone use thanks to the powerful Kirin 980 processor and 6/8 GB of RAM.
- Dual rear camera with numerous shooting modes, AI capabilities, Portrait and Aperture modes to simulate bokeh and Professional mode with many settings. Good performance in most situations.
- A high-resolution front camera, portrait mode and good image quality
- Magic UI 2.1 based on Android 9 Pie with a large number of functionalities, some of them quite useful as the granular control of energy use and mobile data at the application level, the twin application, the private space, the password manager, etc.
- Excellent battery autonomy. Fast charging in just 1 hour and 20 minutes, reached 50 percent in less than 30 minutes.
- 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Dual SIM connectivity.
- NFC support.
- Price appropriate to your benefits.
- Screen with maximum brightness somewhat limited and a fairly marked bluish tone. Absence of Always Active Screen, Ambient Screen or double touch screen on.
- A rear camera if the wide-angle lens or optical zoom. The ToF sensor does not provide great advantages over smartphones that do not.
- Storage not expandable via micro-SD (or NM Card)
- Without FM radio
- No water resistance
- No wireless charging
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